Read through any marketing resource, website or blog post these days and you’ll see that ‘content marketing’ is THE hot marketing topic… and with good reason (we’ll get to that in a minute).
First, what is ‘content marketing?’
As simply as I can state it, content marketing is the development and sharing (a.k.a. giving away) of useful information that will help the reader to better understand a particular subject and/or help them to do his or her job better. As an example, for a research firm, that could include providing content with titles like:
- 10 things to look for when sitting “behind the glass”
- Conducting ethnographic research in the digital age
- How to save time and money with online bulletin boards
- The top 5 coming trends in CPG research
Notice anything unusual? None of the topics are salesy. None of them are internally focused. Content marketing is about providing genuinely helpful information.
Are you giving away some of your ‘secret sauce’ when you do this? Maybe. But, it’s the price of admission. If you don’t – your competitors will. And those that provide the best content often win.
So, why go down this road in the first place? What are the benefits of doing content marketing? There are many…
- Updating your website and blog with fresh content on a regular basis is good for Search Engine Optimization.
- Using targeted keywords and phrases in your content is also good for SEO.
- The kind of topics you write about can help to position your firm in the industry. E.g. Write a lot about ‘online qualitative research’ and pretty soon, your firm will be looked to as strong in that particular discipline.
- Likewise, if you (as an individual) write a lot about a particular subject, it won’t take long before you become recognized as a ‘subject matter expert’ in that area.
- Good content can be used by your sales team to help open doors and as a leave-behind following an in-person conversation.
- It is a key component of the ‘lead nurturing process’ – as a way to stay in touch with old clients and prospects in a non-threatening way.
- Over time, your collective content can form the foundation for presentations, eBooks, etc.
- Most importantly, providing good content on a regular basis will help to differentiate your firm from others in two ways: 1) By providing content on topics that your competitors aren’t writing about and 2) Because most of your competitors are not providing much content to begin with.
And here’s the key to all of this… go to almost any research firm’s website and click on the ‘Blog’ or ‘Resources’ button. What you will find – in the majority of cases – is that their postings of content (even if it’s truly beneficial content) are haphazard and inconsistent. A handful of articles each year… maybe. Or no blog posts in the past couple of months. It’s that kind of half-hearted effort that causes firms to lose the content marketing battle.
If you want to embrace content marketing… commit to it and BE CONSISTENT! Start with a content marketing strategy and plan. Then develop an editorial calendar and follow it. Do that and you’ll build a competitive advantage that’s tough to beat.
Look for Part 2 of this series to be published on October 3rd.